Reading books and throwing shingles

Updated: Jan 22, 2019


If I step back into the archived files of my brain I can recall Elementary school and a reading contest between Rusty Tollison and myself.  Rusty and I were really good friends and at the same time fierce competitors.  He was a South Carolina fan, I was a Clemson fan.  We played on baseball teams together, basketball teams together, and at recess, kickball teams together.  We would always practice sports together but not really so that both of us could improve, rather so that one of us would win. There was one competition that didn't involve sports, it involved reading.  We both were going for the 'W' at all cost. We had a certain amount of time and the goal was to read as many books as possible. The winner would get a prize.  Rusty and I left the rest of our classmates in the dust. For every book you completed you would add a ribbon to your kite tail.  Our kite tails were literally off the bulletin board. The teacher ended up saying we tied and gave both of us a prize. Although, truthfully, I won.


Even though most of the things Rusty and I did turned into competitions there was one time we teamed up against Timmy and took him down with a shingle from the school roof.  True Story.  I was trying to climb a pole on the playground and Timmy decided it was now his turn.  Timmy and I exchanged words and then proceeded to roll around in the dirt in a bit of a tussle.  My trusty sidekick then handed me a shingle from the school roof.  They were in the middle of replacing the school roof so the shingles getting trashed were readily available.  If you have ever had the pleasure of throwing a shingle as if it were a frisbee you would know shingles don't throw like frisbees.  They bob and weave from side to side like a top gun fighter pilot trying to avoid an on slot of gun fire from the enemy.  I release my "F-16" into the air and like a true highly trained pilot it locked in on the enemy and sliced him from eye to ear! Oops! Timmy starts to cry.  I start to cry due to the punishment I knew was imminent.  Mrs. Thomas, our teacher, apparently saw the whole battle unfold and thankfully didn't send either one of us to the Principal.  After we dressed Timmy's wounds we actually became friends.

That story has zero relevance to this post, it just came to mind as I was thinking of my friend Rusty.


Maybe it was the mound of books I read during Elementary school or the amount of time I spent playing sports, riding my bike, playing in the woods...  Whatever the reason I apparently adopted the mindset that at that particular time in my life I read enough books to last me a life time.  I seriously don't recall completely reading another book after that.  I did book reports in middle school and high school by speed reading through a little bit of the beginning of the book, a little bit in the middle, and a little bit at the end.  I even one time did a whole report after only reading the description of the book on the back of the book.  I accepted this challenge because my older brother did it one time so I thought, I can do that.


Fast forward to 2014.  I had a desire to read the bible in one year.  I completed it, and since that time I've made it a goal to read through the Bible every year.  Reading through any other books, that was a bit of a different story.  Until I had a friend of mine read through 24 books in one year.  I thought, how in the world did he do that?  Does he not have a job?! The idea of reading more starting sticking in my mind. Well, I decided I would go for it.  A new year was upon me and what better time to try and develop a new habit than the start of a new year.  That year? That was...last year...2018.  I set a goal of 6 books for the year.  I was not a reader, I didn't want to get overzealous in my goal setting and just end up disappointed.  The opposite happened.  I ended up finishing 12 books last year!  I found myself really digging this whole reading thing.  I read mostly Christian books but I did sprinkle in a few business books that were actually really interesting.  I wanted to get things started off on the right track, so I chose the book, 'Lit, a Christian guide to reading books'.  For real.  That was the first book I chose. The title lured me in and the description said this book was for any one who wants to read books and read them well. The book would cover topics like:

  • Why we should read books in the first place?

  • How to choose the best books?

  • How to find time to read books?

  • How to find joy-not drudgery-in the pages of books?

I was in!  This sounded like the perfect book to start this new adventure with.  Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.


I think the difference now is I'm reading because I want to learn not because I'm being told to learn.  I'm not reading something I have no interest in, I'm reading content precisely because I'm interested in it.  I've learned and am continuing to learn that reading can make a difference in your life.  The more you read the more your appetite for reading will grow.


Set a goal.  Pick a number.  I thought my friend reading 24 books a year was a lot.  It is a lot.  But I've since discovered people reading 75 to 100 books a year! What?!  The point is, read.  Start somewhere.  Maybe start like me and read a book about how to read books.


Stay tuned to the Brookstone Blog, we will be posting books we highly recommend.

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